This little gem is part of Isimangaliso Wetland Park and is well worth a visit especially if you are a keen birdwatcher. It hosts over 450 different species and has a wide range of habitats including sand forest, acacia savannah, woodland, riverine forests, rivers, pans, grasslands, cliffs and rocky ridges. You need a minimum of two to five days to do this reserve any justice. I wouldn’t for the less than three. Due to the diverse habitat you will find black and white rhino, elephant, giraffe, the beautiful nyala, wilderbeest, warthog (my favorite animal), hippo, impala and other small antelope including the tiny Suni if you lucky. Wild Dog and lion are also found here but I have to be honest, I have never seen them. On a night drive you may even be lucky enough to see the elusive leopard.
Accommodation is available at the Mantuma Camp which consists of Chalets and also two-beded Tents. I love the tents, and always book into them – gives me a real “bush experience” feeling. Each tent has their own kitchen and bathroom, all very basic but comfortable. The camp is not fenced so it is not advisable to wander around at night as you never know who you might bump into.
All the units are self-catering, the small shop at Reception is very basic so make sure you bring everything, otherwise you will have to travel about 28 km to the nearest town which is Mkuze. The water is drinkable but does not taste too good so we always bring our own. There is a little take-away called Rhino-Dino but it was closed while we were there, so don’t bank on it.
Fuel is available. Cellphone reception not good except near reception – but who wants to be in touch with the outside world anyway?
Make sure you pack the following:
- Binoculars – whether you are a bird watcher or not
- Bird Reference books. I also take my book on Bucks as there are so many of them, especially the small ones which confuse me .
- Insect repellant for mosquitoes
- A good Torch – I also take a head light
- Swimming costume and suntan lotion – there is a lovely swimming pool and it is hot in Mkhuze, you will want to swim
- Walking shoes – especially if you are going to visit the Fig Forest (see my blog “The Fig Forest – A Must while in Mkuze”)
- Sunhat and sunglasses
- First-aid kit
- Charcoal – it is mandatory to have a braai!
Mkuze Game Reserve Gate Times:
Summer 5:00 am to 7:00 pm
Winter 6:00 am to 6:00 pm
Things to do while visiting Mkuze
See my Blog Day 1 – Weekend in Mkuze
- As you check in book a walk to the Fig Forest with a game guard. (See my blog “The Fig Forest – A Must while in Mkuze”) This is a very popular activity so book straight away otherwise you may miss out.
- Consider a night drive – always a great experience when you have the opportunity of seeing nocturnal animals such as genets, owls, and if you extra lucky a leopard.
- Visit the various hides overlooking waterholes. The best is Masinga hide which is great for photography.
- Have a picnic (we always have breakfast) at Nsumu pan to the sounds of hippo grunting and in the company of hundreds of birds, often large flocks of pelicans and flamingoes.
- Walk around the camp (not after sunset) and see how many birds you can find. You will also bump into the resident impala and nyala that browse in the camp.
- Cool off in the middle of the day in the lovely swimming pool.
- Don’t forget to look out for the little creatures – you will be entertained by many of them especially the comical Dung Beetles.